Mitchell Reports | February 25, 2013
>> more on the foreign policy challenges and obstacles facing secretary kerry, dianne feinstein . thank you very much, senator, for being with us.
>> you're welcome.
>> your former colleague has left -- he has left one difficult job and taken on perhaps a far more difficult job. here he is traveling and facing a critical meeting with syria, and they are trying to use whatever leverage they can. should the president now reconsider the u.s. policy and do something more than nonlethal aid? should he consider a no-fly zone?
>> not necessarily. i think what john kerry is doing is the right thing. he's getting his feet wet and fact finding on the ground. he is touching base with our major allies in europe, with turkey, and then iffing into the middle east . i think his assessment on the position of assad is critical is assad willing to accept some negotiations to leave the country? is assad going to depart for the alaawhite areas and have a concentrated domain there? what is likely to happen in syria is important. i'm not one that is for giving heavy arms to -- in the middle of what is effectively a civil war because i suspect those arms will crop up another day and could well kill americans, and that worries me a great deal. i have a great deal of faith in secretary kerry. he is skilled. he is effective. he's got the standing. in my view, he is the best of the united states . sfoo let me ask you about a couple of other foreign policy challenges. china during the last couple of days we've seen this report last week. very well regarded confirmed report that has actually traced china's seeber attacks back to a military unit in shanghai, and that is only one part of it according to although experts we've talked to in and outside of government. what should the u.s. do in reaction?
>> well, i'm very concerned. i read the report. i've also read our reports classified out of intelligence, and i think the mendient report which is now unclassified, is public, is essentially correct. i think china has to face up to it. i think our government needs to sit down with china forth with, present the evidence to china, ask china for its investigation, and press, press, press. this is going to no good end unless there is some agreement between our two nations and the world committee -- community for an agreement which is enforceable. one of these days there is going to be a huge cyber attack somewhere, and we must prevent that from happening.
>> we're not without crisis. how about afghanistan? in the last 24 hours we've heard from president karzai saying that u.s. unit have to get out of wardock province within two weeks because of what they're affiliated afghan forces have allegedly done. what should the u.s. do about that?
>> well, what i just heard is that the reports are not correct, and that the military is investigating. so i would sort of like to hold my fire and wait and see what actually is correct and not correct.
>> let me just ask you. your information that those reports were not correct, are those from official sources? in other words, have you been briefed on this?
>> from my intelligence staff. that's the source.
>> that's understood. that's exactly why i wanted to talk to you about it. finally, guns. we've been waiting on multiple fronts for some action. you've been a leader on this issue against gun violence . we are hearing at least from the other side from people working in a bipartisan way on the republican side that we're not close to an agreement on a bipartisan approach, and here the national rifle association 's wayne lapierre over the weekend out west was really going after you personally. let me play that.
>> i've been amazed, just amazed, at how rapidly this debate deteriorated from what is proven to work to what is proven to be the political agenda of those bent on attacking the second amendment to our constitution. dianne feinstein herself commented that she's had her gun ban legislation on her desk for over a year waiting for the right time to introduce it.
>> what would you like to say back to wayne la pierre ?
>> what i said is that we have been working on this for a year. it's a rather complicated piece of legislation because it exempts 2,200 hunting, sporting weapons by make and model, and that took some work of staff and consultation with real gun experts to be sure that we could be correct on all counts, so it wasn't a bill just quickly slapped together. it had some thoughtful consideration. we have a hearing coming up wednesday. we have a number of witnesses. i think we will make the case that this is constitutional. i think we will make the case that these weapons do not belong on the streets of our cities, that many of the parts of these weapons make them into weapons that are specifically designed to kill large numbers of people in close conflict. i don't really expect to agree with much that mr. lapierre says. of course, he has the right to say it, and i have the right to do this. i've tried to do it carefully. we have 22 co-sponsors. i recognize it's an uphill battle. i also know that these events are iffing to continue, and america has to step up. the mothers, the women, the men of america have to make a decision as to whether their personal pleasure is more important than the general welfare . grievance killers look for these weapons. these weapons are easy to obtain. there are no background checks . you can buy them out of a back of a car. at a gun show . america 's laws are virtually nonexistent, and, therefore, i think this is a good bill. i intend to fight. i did it once before. if it doesn't get done right now, be assured i will continue to press the case.
>> senator, do you think you're getting enough support from the white house on this, or are they beginning to think that they can maybe try for background checks but not to try for the assault weapon ban because it is that much tougher?
>> well, it might surprise you, andrea. our support is very broad. the white house has been very good. they've been very clear. i think we've got all the police. we have all the mayors virtually. the conference of mayors. mayors against gunsz. we have medical experts. we have virtually dozens of religious organizations, of every creed supporting us. we have just lists and lists. i put together a little booklet that contains the basics on the bill as well as a list of the endorsers, so we will be making our arguments. it's very difficult to go against the nra because it's volatile, the assault one. we are making our arguments, and i hope america will stand up and say just one thing. enough is enough.
>> senator dianne feinstein , thank you very much.
>> you're welcome.
>> always good to see you. thanks for joining us today.